Setting Things Straight

Oct 27, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Tehran - Shiraz 

We in the West have a certain image in our heads when we think of Iran; evil scientists planning world destruction in a lab, crazy fanatical leaders plotting the demise of Israel and supporting terrorists to quell their maniacal, blood thirsty whims, bearded men wandering the streets, buildings crumbling behind them as old Soviet cars belch thick black smoke into the sky. They’re dressed head to toe in Arab garb, heads wrapped in turbans, eyes sinister and beards long. Women are forcibly shoved to the periphery of life, controlled and in fear. They look upon westerners with distain and malice. 

We are wrong.

We Should Never Hate Before We Care

Oct 20, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Aspen – Tehran

A toe drags through the gravel, a raindrop lands on a hand, the clouds waft through the air as if being dragged by angels. The Maroon Bells appear stark white. They pierce through the clouds, surrounded by screaming yellow trees, ominously present and powerful yet benevolent. Amber waves of brush, burning red Aspen tops abound. A friend laughs, a child giggles, a deer frolics.

Found: Seafaring APR Water Bottle

Jun 24, 2014
Andy Hanson

You might find a member station sticker on a car or even run into a fellow traveler sporting some fashionable threads from the same station you support miles-and-miles from home. But, Andy Hanson came across an Aspen Public Radio membership premium while on vacation in a very interesting way.

Granted, it has seen better days.

On the Road: Acceptance and Reflection

Jun 22, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Tampico - Aspen 

320 miles from Tampico, roughly 40 to the US border. All that stands between me and it is one of the most dangerous stretches of tarmac in all the Americas. Carjackings, drug cartels, grenade attacks, mass murder, and general treachery. Along the way a multitude of police checkpoints, serving as both vanguards of security and targets of terror line the route. Each stop halts my progress, I become a sitting duck. The police, eager to demonstrate their militaristic bonafides don full tactical gear, head to toe camo, bulletproof vests, night vision equipment, massive assault rifles, everything designed for utmost intimidation. Yet, as public servants visibility is paramount, so, rather inexplicably, they layer high visibility jackets over their camo, neon yellow with orange vests with reflective stripes, the sheer lunacy of it makes me nearly double over in laughter. The irony of it, at least the giggle relieves tension.

On the Road: Big Jumps and War Zones

Jun 20, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Tampico through Tamaulipas

2100 hours. A soldier eats his last MRE for the day. He huddles with his platoon mates for what may be the last time. They look each other in the eyes, man their perimeter and tuck in for an uneasy last night sleep before a sunrise assault tomorrow. They know some won’t make it, they are fearful, but together, they are strong. This is what hell week, all the training, all the battles to this point has lead up to. They think of their children, families, loved ones. In the morning, the fear will subside, they will be trained and ready, tomorrow is their day.

On the Road: U.S. Bank of F. Y**

Jun 18, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Cancun – Villahermosa

You always expect the unexpected, but sometimes, regardless of your preparation, you get absolutely blindsided. Something happens by no fault of your own but the impact is irreversible and changes your path in an unforeseen and unwelcomed manner. There is nothing you can do, the change is irreconcilable and all you can do it bury your apprehensions, emotions and resentments and push forward, making the best of what you have.

On the Road: Authenticity

Jun 16, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Havana – Mexico

Gatito sits on a plastic covered couch. She’s back in Cancun looking through the glass outer wall of an Elektra, a one-stop shop for bank loans, cheap credit, home décor, motorbikes, and electronics. Outside looks so different after the last few weeks. People move faster, they wear fewer smiles; pure joys are supplanted by hurried desires.  Cars are everywhere, big and new. Storefronts house things and OXXO’s sell food and snacks on almost every corner. Passing by the window so fleetingly, so flippantly, are all the things desired of the average Cubans she met. Work, freedom of opportunity, and a car are available along with cheap food. Yet, it all feels so hollow, so cold and callous.

On the Road: Bay of Pigs

Jun 11, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Havana – Playa Largo

Birds chirp, wheels turn and the city comes to life. Gatito awakens and looks over her Havana Balcony at a black and white 1953 Chevrolet. It’s a beautiful sight, swollen haunches, chrome detailing, leather interior, circular indicators protruding from the trunk and hood, imposing and stately like a bulldog perched atop an island atoll protecting an English manor. She carries her bags down the stairs and jumps high as she can. Nope, smash, face to running board. Again, nope. She tries to shimmy up the tire but again she fails. Covered in dust and hot tire residue she begins to tear up, perhaps she will never reach Playa Largo in the Bay of Pigs. But then, just as despair sets in, a nice little Cuban dog, Charlie, one of hundreds of cute well-mannered pups on the island, walks up, barks spritely, picks her up and slings her into the car.

On the Road: A Pearl in the Caribbean

Jun 9, 2014
Skippy Mesirow


Havana, what a fantastic city Gatito thinks. It’s big, spread out, home to several million. Old Havana hugs the coastline with its long ocean-front boulevard, soaring buildings forming the skyline. The city is filled with color, buildings awash in every hue, stained glass projects colored light onto the streets, massive 1950’s taxis are painted in bright ostentatious tones, their massive chromed bumpers and flanks reflect light like a kaleidoscope as they drive, local Cuban men wear fluorescent pink and green skinny jeans and pastel deep-v t-shirts, women are adorned in flower and geometric print leggings or colorful short-shots and lacy tops. It’s a cornucopia of vibrancy and movement. Everyone is in sunglasses and jewelry. Everyone smiles, she sees so much energy, everyone is playing, vivacious, its feels like a Jr. high dance, nervous tension, butterflies in the stomach, exuberant embraces, absolutely giddy with excitement. Everywhere Gatito wanders people stop her, shake her hand, pick her up so she can see above the crowed and ask all about her life, genuinely interested in whom she is and where she has come from. When they discover she’s American a glint in their eyes is inevitable and questions abound. They love America; they want to travel there, to see their relatives, to learn about the monopoly to their north that has so affected their lives yet they know so little about.

On the Road: The Journey In

Jun 7, 2014
Skippy Mesirow

Cancun – Havana